THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF LOVE…IN THE MIDST OF HATE
The Las Vegas mass shooting, the deadliest in US history, will never be forgotten… for too many reasons to count. Number one among them, of course, are the wonderful, much loved people who have been forever and needlessly lost in a mindless, ruthless, needless massacre, almost too terrible to think about, perpetrated by a single individual.
But what is also important to embrace in the midst and throes of so much evil is, amazingly enough, the good and the love that has shown itself in the words and actions of countless, selfless, great-hearted Americans; people who have gone and are still going to whatever lengths are necessary to help.
The residents of Las Vegas banded together to do anything it took to be there in any way they could. I don’t think I’ll ever get over hearing about the hundreds of people standing in line for upwards of eight hours at blood banks and hospitals to donate blood. “If our people want to do something and are healthy, then please donate blood,” pleaded Carolyn Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas. And they did.
Hundreds more people dropped off food and other supplies at the Thomas Mack Center on the University of Nevada campus.
And not surprisingly, local celebrities heeded the call, including Mike Tyson, Kid Rock and the country music group “Florida Georgia Line.” And the Oakland Raiders (who are moving to Las Vegas in 2020), donated $50,000.
But there are countless others whose names you’ve never heard whose acts of compassion and inexhaustible heroics saved many lives. Here are just a few…
Rob Ledbetter’s battlefield instincts kicked in quickly as bullets rained over his head. The 42-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served as a sniper in Iraq immediately began tending to the wounded.
A man took the flannel shirt off his back and gave it to the woman standing next to him so she could put a makeshift tourniquet on a wounded teenage girl, whose face was covered with blood.
There was an older man, a survivor known only as Zach, who herded people for many hours to a place he’d found that was safe.
And a registered male nurse from Tennessee who died shielding his wife…
Heather Gooze, a bartender, was in a bar that people ran towards to escape the bullets, when three men carried in on a ladder a badly wounded man named, Jordan Mcilldon. “His phone was locked but Facebook messages kept coming in,” Heather said, “so I went on Facebook and finally found his family. I promised them we wouldn’t leave him. I was with him when he took his last breath…”
A publicist named Karen Gale, who wrote the recent cover story for PEOPLE, said, “If anything, I learned there is still humanity in this world. I saw it.” Yes, there is.
And yes, there is also evil. And yes, there are bad people. But what we were lucky enough to see in this beyond horrific example of one man’s inhumanity towards many, is an outpouring of… love. Yes, love…from thousands of people.
And in the end, love wins.
But what about us? What can we learn; what could we do differently? Well, in the end, we find what we look for. If we look for reasons to hate, we find them. If we look for reasons to love, we find them. And it’s also true that we are what we think about. And on the whole we get what we expect. If we crowd our minds with “how bad” it is – and it’s true, there’s a lot of bad, hard, disappointing stuff that’s just not working out there - that’s all we’ll see and all we’ll “experience.”
And that will become how “life” or “work” or “the world” is for us. And the problem is, that kind of attitude is contagious. Are those the kinds of “expectations” we want our children to have? Or the people we love or work with? If we let that happen they can be “right about how wrong it is.” But never be happy…
We can’t let that happen, not now, not ever. We have to be the ones who show up, who nourish and encourage, who look for and find the absolute best in people, who stand in line for a whole day or longer if necessary…to give blood.
The ones who…love.